Having been welcomed back into the fold, following a self-enforced absence from the action with the Brooklyn Nets, one would have hoped that Kyrie Irving would have looked to avoid unnecessary attention, but that does not appear to be the case.
Irving, who has resisted calls to get vaccinated against the CoViD-19 virus, is banned from playing home games with the Nets, as well as other locations that forbid him from doing so, but has played games on the road after being left out for the first few months of the season.
Although Steve Nash has been without Irving, this has not affected the Nets progress and a cursory look at the sidelines odds, which compares the overall sports betting market, shows that Brooklyn remains the favorites for the NBA title at (+275), this despite the fact that the Barclays Center side has never won the Championship before.
The Nets sit top of the Eastern Conference with a promising 29-16 record, with Kevin Durant and James Harden pulling the strings for Nash’s side. Irving’s latest involvement came during their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers (114-107) when he was harangued by the home support.
Irving, who spent 6 years with the Cavaliers (and helped them to an NBA title in 2016), did not take the abuse too well and responded, “Got y’all a championship, and motherf***ers still ungrateful,” which led to the NBA hitting the 29-year-old with a $25K fine for directing obscene language towards a fan.
The departure of Irving, and LeBron James, following that 2016 title, left the Cavaliers struggling for form, and for three years, they have failed to impress but have seen a return to form this time around.
Irving has only played five times this season, but it is worth noting that on two of those occasions, he has top-scored, including in the defeat to Cleveland.
As for the fine, well, to be honest, that is a drop in the ocean to Irving, who has been fined over $380K for every home game he has missed, which means he’s in for over $8.5 million in penalties to the Nets.
Nash is without Kevin Durant, who is out with a troublesome knee injury that could keep him out of action for as long as six weeks, and perhaps the Nets coach would have hoped that might soften Irving’s stance on vaccination sadly that has not proven the case.
“That is what I think comes into a lot of this culture and basketball and sport and entertainment,” “You bring in teams, and you bring in situations. Kev’s going to heal, Kev’s going to be OK, and we are going to have to deal with that as his teammates. But in terms of where I am with my life outside of this, I stay rooted in my decision. And that’s just what it is.”
“It is not going to be swayed just because of one thing in this NBA life. That somehow, it’s brought to my attention as being more important than what’s going on in the real world. It is just not happening for me. Again, I respect everyone else’s decision; I am not going to ever try to convince anyone of anything or any of that; I am just standing rooted in what I believe in. And though we are dealing with this right now with Kev, I just know that I am protected by the organization, I am protected by my teammates, I am protected by all the doctors I’ve talked to. And I just stand rooted.”